“To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don't worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"They Will Kill Me" & The Buddha's Barber

I must admit, this truly happened to me the other day:
For those that do not know me up close and personal, I cut hair. Well, the other day I was cutting the hair of a very young man, of maybe ten years old. Beside me, overlooking stood his father, when the little one said to me “They are going to kill you!”
Looking at his reflection in the mirror, I asked whom.
“The Freemasons.” he responded sure in his answer.
I knew instantly he must have seen my ring and laughed gently.
I told him I was safe, and that I was a Freemason.
He told me, “They will kill you for saying that.”
All I could do was laugh; his father bowed his head and shook it back and forth.
From the mouth of babes!

The following is a tale of another barber. If your into meditation the story will resonate, if not, think about the message.

Buddha Gets a Haircut

Upali was born in a family of the Sudra caste so he was destined to be a slave. In ancient India, outcasts led a dog's life. An outcast must kneel aside if he happened to see the Brahmin or Ksatriya on the road. He must not peep at them; otherwise, his eyes would be dug out. If he argued with the Brahmin or ksatriya, his tongue would be cut off.
Outcasts were not allowed to receive education and hence when Upali grew up, his parents asked him to learn the skill of hair cutting to support himself. Upali was attentive and obedient hence he mastered all types of cutting in a short period. Then his parents asked someone to help arrange Upali to the palace and Upali became the barber of the princes.
Princes such as Prince Bhaddiya and Prince Aniruddha had their hair cut by Upali. They liked Upali as he handled their hair with extra care.

When Upali was twenty years old, Buddha returned to His hometown, Kapilavatthu. That was three years after the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Upali was recommended to do the haircut for Buddha. He was overwhelmed by the unexpected favor but hesitated to accept the honor, as he knew the Buddha was the Great Enlightened One and He possessed thirty-two Marks of the Saint. So he asked for his mother's advice.
His mother comforted him and said that the Buddha was benevolent and He would not despise outcaste. However, Upali was still afraid of going despite his mother's assurance. His mother could not do anything but accompanied him to do the haircut for the Buddha.

The next day, Upali, in the company of his mother, did the haircut for Buddha.
After a while, his mother knelt before Buddha and asked, "Lord Buddha, what do you think of his skill?"
"He bows too low, "
replied the Buddha.
Upali straightened his back when he heard this.
It was said that he attained the first stage of meditation.

After a while, his mother knelt down and asked,” Lord Buddha, what do you think now?"
"His body seems to be too straight,"
replied the Buddha.
When Upali heard this, he concentrated his attention and it was said that he attained the second stage of meditation then.

After a while, his mother asked the Buddha again, "Lord Buddha, what do you think of his skill now?"
"He breathes in too fast," replied Buddha.
When Upali heard this, he concentrated his mind on breathe-in and breathe-out. It was said that he attained the third stage of meditation then.

His mother asked Buddha again, "What do you think now?"
"He breathes out too fast."
replied the Buddha.
Now, Upali was mindful of breathing in and out and he did not know what he was holding a razor. It was said that he attained the fourth stage of meditation.

On the instance, the Buddha asked the Brethren to prop up Upali so that he would not fall down.
We could learn from here that Upali was very attentive in his work. He was strict with himself and could listen to people's criticisms with an open mind. Hence, he was pre-eminent among those who knew the disciplinary rules by heart.

Upali became one of the ten chief disciples of the Buddha. He asked the Buddha if a person of "low birth" such as he could join the order. Buddha ordained him before the princes and asked the princes to pay homage to Upali, who by then had become an Arhant with Buddha's sermons while Buddha was getting a haircut. He became the chief disciple in knowing the rules of the order and the foremost disciple in keeping precepts. .Later he became Buddha’s chief disciple on Vinaya (Monk Rules)


Masonic Traveler said...

Imagine the reaction to the boy with answer of:

"... they already did".

Citizen Kane said...

Love it!!